Success story

When I started the the Lefkoe Freedom Course with Shelly, I had so many occurrings. I woke up in the morning and my mind was negative from the get-go. I would have 10 or 12 occurrings before I had even gotten out of bed. What a heavy, sad way to be in the world. Now, I wake up with a blank slate, and without all those depressing thoughts. There is a degree to which other people have changed, like my husband and daughter, because I am “lighter” with them. Some things are the same, like my high-functioning autistic son is still prone to tantrums, but I can meet his anger with calm and resilience! So, the tantrums end very quickly now. Who knows? Maybe showing him a better way to be will teach him to be more resilient too!
-Maria Downs, Boston, MA

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The Transcript of the video is below.


Hi, it’s Shelly Lefkoe, co-founder of the Lefkoe Institute, and today I’d like to talk to you about something that I think haunts a lot of us. It’s fear of not living up to expectations, and I’m here to tell you that not living up to expectations doesn’t cause fear in people, and how I know that is my kids have no fear of not living up to my expectations, unfortunately.
So, I’m going to show you … You know, I been working with a lot of people over the years who have a fear of public speaking, who have performance anxiety, who are afraid to pull the trigger on a new venture, and without fail, one of the things we work on is fear of not living up to people’s expectations.

So today, I want to do a little process with you to show you how to get rid of this. So, imagine when you’re little, and your parents says something to you … I want everybody to close your eyes and do this. Imagine you’re little, and mom or dad says to you, “I’m very disappointed in you.” Or they look at you with that disappointment, or they say something like, “Couldn’t you do better than this?”

In that moment, do you think a young child would feel loved or unloved? So, as you imagine your parents saying this to you, would you feel loved or unloved? So, it is not, not living up to an expectation that causes your fear. It’s feeling unloved by the people on whom your survival depends that causes that fear. And the only reason we feel that fear today is because, as a kid, you never made that distinction.

So, I want you to close your eyes. Really imagine this. This is a true story. So Imagine Morty is your dad, and he comes to you and says to you what he said to my girls. “You are not here to live up to our expectations, Mom’s and mine. You are here to do your life, and we are here to guide you and keep you safe until you can do that on your own.”
Now you go to school, and a teacher says to you, “I’m very disappointed in you. You did not live up to my expectations.” Would you feel fear? No. When Brittany was 14 years old, she started high school. We had just moved to California, and a teacher said to her, “I’m disappointed in you.” And Brittany looked at her, and she said, “With all due respect, I am not here to live up to your expectations. I’m here to get an education, and you are here to give me one.” And the teacher called me, and she said no kid has ever spoken to her that way, but it was interesting.

And here’s the thing, when you have a fear of not living up to expectations, your focus is on yourself. Am I going to be okay? Is this going to be … Am I going to do it right? When you don’t, one of the things that I noticed is my focus, when I got rid of that … My focus is now on my client. My focus is on you. My focus isn’t on what you’re going to think or if I live up to your expectations or not. It’s on serving. It’s on enjoying my life. It’s on being a contribution. It’s on my relationships being whole and nurturing. It’s about me being supportive. It’s not about living up to your expectations.

If you say to me, “Shelly, you made a contribution to my life,” I’m ecstatic. If you say to me, “You didn’t live up to my expectations.” Okay? Can you tell me more?

So, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about today, and I hope this little exercise helped you because when you realize you’re not here to live up to people’s expectations, you are here to do your life, to have your excellent adventure, you will be much freer.

Thanks, and I’ll be back soon.